# Malaysia outplayed in Group C opening match
Iraq gave a dominating performance in cold and chilly weather in Changshu, China against debutants Malaysia in the AFC Under-23 Championships Finals for a 4-1 win in their opening Group C match on Wednesday.
It was sloppy defending that cost Malaysia dearly in the match – and not forgetting the cold weather which dipped below five degree Celsius in Changshu.
Malaysia were one down after only five minutes and it was 2-0 for Iraq inside 30 minutes as Malaysia tried in vain to match their bigger sized opponents as well as in experience. Iraq are the 2013 champions.
For Malaysia it was nightmarish start to their debut in the Under-23 Finals when Iraq’s Mohammad Khalid Jaffal planted a powerful header past goalkeeper Ifwat Akmal Che Kassim from a cross on the left by Bashar Resan.
It was another defensive blunder that led to Iraq’s second goal. Syazwan Andik cleared the ball into Mohammad Jaffal who put Amjet Attwan through and the latter drilled home a low right footed shot past the keeper.
Iraq were 3-0 up on 56 minutes when Alaa Mhawi finding the net from a acute angle after receiving the ball from Basahar Resan.
Sea Games hero N. Thanabalan was replaced by Akhyar Rashid on the hour and 20 minutes later Akhyar made it count. Akhyar worked his way up on the left and crossed for the hardworking Safawi Rasid to put the finishing touches with a low left footed shot that found the right corner.
However, two minutes later Malaysia gave away the ball from another defensive error and Hussein Ali had an easy task of hitting home the fourth goal with a yawning goal in front of him as Ifwat Akmal was caught upfront in his bid to stop the Iraqi. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH